Police urged to swiftly address abuse of State of Emergency
The Law Association and Transparency Institute say police officers need to be held to a higher level of accountability.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday September 26, 2011 – There are mounting calls for swift disciplinary action against police officers who are using excessive force during the ongoing State of Emergency that has been in force for more than a month.
The Law Association and Transparency Institute have demanded a higher level of accountability for the officers, similar to what has been applied by the Defence Force.
“We certainly would like to see a more public accounting for alleged abuses by the police authorities,” Chairman Richard Joseph said, following complaints, including of people being held in custody for days without charge.
“There should be some sort of indication to the public that either corrective actions have been taken or that the allegation has no substance,” he added.
In a media release, the law association urged the police to move expeditiously to address claims against members who are accused of using excessive force.
It also advised officers to prepare for the end of the State of Emergency, which officially ends December 7.
Meantime, Minister in the Ministry of National Security Colin Partap has rebuffed the call by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, for an end to the measure on the grounds that it has outlived its crime-fighting usefulness.
Minister Paratab said the problem cannot be addressed in a matter of weeks.
“Everyone would agree that the State of Emergency, so far, has been successful. I don’t know what empirical evidence the opposition has to say the State of Emergency has run its course. No, it hasn’t,” he stated.
“If they think rooting out the criminal elements in this country is going to take place within weeks then they’re sadly mistaken,” the minister added.